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Sometimes they really don't see you - "Moving Camouflage"

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by robsalvv, Jun 24, 2015.

  1. Moving Camouflage is one reason bikes are literally NOT seen.

    A static position on the road and/or a static speed can mean that you and your bike disappear into the background as far as an oncoming observer is concerned. This is one reason why moving around in your lane and varying your speed or indeed maintaining a speed slightly higher than the traffic average speed are common "advanced" roadcraft tips. This movement is at the heart of the SIAM (Smidsy Incident Avoidance Manoeuvre).

    Remember, all that this does is remove moving camouflage from the list of reasons a bike is not seen. It does not guarantee you will be seen and it does not guarantee that if seen the driver will properly factor your bike into their driving decisions!

    Don't ever just rely on SIAM or varying position.

    Don't ever assume you've been seen.

    You may still very well need to avoid that vehicle about to cross your path so be ready to follow up with some genuine avoidance.

    Check out this article and discuss:

    = = = =

    Copyright © 1992 - 2015 by The Master Strategy Group, all rights reserved.

    An article in the March, 2005 issue of the British magazine Bike describes a study indicating one reason why it just might be true that when someone claims not to have seen a motorcycle before a collision, they may well be telling the truth. The study identified a phenomenon known as Moving Camouflage and an ancillary concept called the Looming Effect.

    Moving Camouflage
    When an object approaches you along the same line of sight as a background point of interest, there is very little in the way of visible change of that approaching object and as a result you may not notice it. Lets look at a concrete example of this phenomenon.

    Though the background point of interest is usually stationary, such as a building, you can see that even another moving vehicle can be enough.

    Looming Effect
    An approaching object always appears to get larger the closer it gets. But the difference in size (the amount of size change) is very small when an object moves from 1000 ft to 900 ft as compared to when it moves from 200 ft to 100 ft. In the latter case the change is dramatic - it can be said to be coming into view as a looming threat. When that happens, the moving camouflage phenomenon ceases to exist. In the diagram above the motorcycle would be at approximately the place where the looming effect would overwhelm the moving camouflage phenomenon and suddenly appear to the driver of the blue car.

    The best way to overcome the moving camouflage phenomenon is to vary your lane position as you approach a threatening vehicle to become visible because of a change in your behavior.

    = = =
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  2. On a related note, something else worth noting is that, when two vehicles are on a collision course, each appears stationary from the POV of the other. In other words, in the circumstances when it is probably most critical that each notices the other, it actually becomes less likely that they will because one of the major attention getters (movement in one's field of vision) is removed.
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  3. I've always liked BIKE's approach to the serious issues of riding..
    I do think, too, that some peoples' brains are just not wired, or perhaps, tuned, to see anything other than cars on the road, probably because that's what they are in. Because most cars these days are really just movable appliances, people are not engaged with them as entities, so they don't engage with other entities on the road either.
    • Agree Agree x 3
  4. I know it's trite but I always try and put myself somewhere bleedin' obvious so they can't miss me!!!
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  5. I think trying to make them miss you is the point Hornet :p
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  6. Oh, yeah, I know, that's how I've survived this long :LOL:
  7. On this topic sort of (and mods please feel free to move to another thread if this is a hijack), I was thinking about bikes filtering in the dark yesterday when taking kids back from sport in the cage. The same "urban camoflague" applies. Its bloody hard making out what's going on in your cage wing mirror in traffic queues,and I was wondering how riders that regularly commute in early/late dark conditions modify their riding approach in this respect, or whether they don't. From the cage POV, a single light coming along between you and the rest of the line is very hard to pick up as there is a myriad of headlights, LED's, indicators, red brake flare, etc, and at varying heights as well.

    Any feedback from regular night riders (as opposed to Knight Rider)?
  8. Another point is you need to check the fore, middle and far ground when looking for oncoming vehicles. Actually move your head and eyes, not just take one look in a direction and expect to take it all in. There is a term for it, what your brain registers with each glance, my google foo fails me at the moment to find it though.
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  9. This is why I still think a depth perception test should be a licensing requirement (might get rid of those that stop 5 to 6mtrs from a stop light and then have to keep creeping forward) as it is in a few other fields, pilot licensing for one.
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  10. As a former everyday, all conditions commuter I didn't consciously alter my riding in poor visibility, mainly because I've always structured my riding to ensure that, as far as possible, it doesn't matter whether I'm seen or not.
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  11. I couldn't agree more, it is shocking how little people treat vehicles as extensions of their own body rather than a protective box to hide in. Your Car/bike/sword (ninjutsu philosophy) are one with your body
  12. WombleWomble has taught me, and I now automatically do it, to swerve in an almost a gentle "tyre warming" motion when you see someone in a cage sitting at a side street, someone at lights that may turn right across your path, cagers sitting with their indicators on the side of the rode etc.
    I find that people in the cages give you a WTF are you doing look but at least I know they have seen me!
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  13. I agree with bobthekelpy's description of how to scan. Longer, more deliberate "looks" are worth much more than a glance each way, due to the presence of "blind spots" in your retina (each retina has one large one). these can effectively hide something that is in the field of view of only one eye. Best to move them around.

    However you get the attention of people that wouldn't ordinarily see you is fair enough. Weaving works. They do notice you, though the effect on following traffic may be unexpected. It is possible that someone, most likely a motorcyclist, closing from the rear quickly might "read" it as an unsignalled lane change about to happen and try to sneak past. I know if I was watching the vehicle at the intersection, I might not notice this.
  14. I was reminded today that another factor is also involved. When you move your eyes, you actually don't see anything.

    Try it, look to the left of the room, then to the right of the room just as you would at an intersection. Now did you see your computer screen? I doubt you did (your brain imagines it for you, to fill in the blanks). To see the whole picture you need to look at the room like it's many boxes. If your eyes are moving, you see nothing.

    This has the implication that when people look left and right, if you are closer than they expect, they don't see you.

    As an example today, I was on my pushbike and a car pulled up on a side street, she looked right (behind me) and then back to the left. She pulled out and nearly ran me over (I like to claim I was smart enough to avoid the situation, but I think it was luck that she missed me by less than a metre). At no time did she even see me, and is now sitting at home completely oblivious to the fact she almost ran someone over today.
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  15. I thought a similar thing myself after I had already filtered up and when I checked my mirrors to see if any other bikes were also coming through, I realised it would be hard for me to see if they were. That aside, I've wondered what difference it makes if the cars see you coming or not? Some would probably try to make the gap smaller if they did, I have only had one or two people actually try to give me more room.
  16. It matters didly squat if a car sees you coming while you filter, if they are going to change lanes, you aren't really filtering.
  17. Spot on. By the same token if I have a car on me ginger I move about like I am half pissed to ward them of,especially at night when on open road,car in front and
    Another is coming up quick I move around so my taillight doesn't blend with the cars in front.
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  18. The driver's own vehicle is a significant factor in blind spots at intersections too. My car has A-pillars that can conceal an entire car approaching from the passenger side of the intersection if it is not quite perpendicular. You have to move your head to look around it. I suspect many drivers would not be so vigilant. One of the drawbacks of filling every nook and cranny with airbags, I assume.
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  19. 10944818_1227272840629106_7224956870045321006_n.

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  20. I also do this on country roads when I see a line of cars coming in the opposite direction
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